Language and Societies

ANT/LIN 5320 at Wayne State University

Pass the Gaudy Dutchie to the German Side: An Examination of an Early Language Community in Nineteenth Century Detroit

Pass the Gaudy Dutchie to the German Side: An Examination of an Early Language Community in Nineteenth Century Detroit

Andrew Eppens-Gross

Throughout the nineteenth century, it was common for newly arrived immigrants to settle in communities with whom they shared a common language and culture. Germans in Detroit were no exception. The great Detroit histories by Silas Farmer, Clarence Burton, and Friend Palmer describe the earliest German communities forming in the mid-1830s, but material culture suggests that there was an established German language community prior to this period. This article will examine the social history of this early German language community in Detroit and what effects this may have on existing narratives as well as revealing the genesis and early development of a language community which would become one of the largest ethnic groups in Michigan. This will be accomplished by a review of the existing literature on this period of Detroit’s history, German immigration patterns, as well as newspaper and other archival resources. This inquiry provides compelling evidence that there was indeed a thriving German language community in Detroit prior to 1830 which placed a high value on preserving their linguistic heritage through a variety of institutions including churches, schools, newspapers, and the theater. These conclusions help lay the groundwork for a more detailed examination of more specific aspects of language preservation in early ethnic communities and the effects that assimilation had on them.

Advertisements

April 11, 2016 - Posted by | abstract

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: